Cocktail Culture: The Old Fashioned

March 12, 2020  •  Beverages,

Nearly two years ago, I spent a magical week touring the bourbon country of Kentucky. As our group of friends traveled from distillery to distillery, touring rickhouse after rickhouse, I willed myself to like bourbon, but I left the trip still unable to even taste a sip of the silky brown liquor without cringing and turning up my nose. Then a new man came into my life.He likes bourbon just like my friends, and as we spent time chatting early in our dating, I enjoyed the smell of bourbon – in his glass, on his breath – and I started taking tiny sips. It took a few months, and I continued to cringe for awhile, but then I suddenly tasted one – Breckenridge Reserve – and I didn’t make a face. The next time we went out for a drink, he ordered an Old Fashioned and I tasted it and wow! I had finally found a taste for bourbon. But here’s the catch: straight bourbon drunk neat is hot and burns and I don’t enjoy it. Mixed in a cocktail, it’s mellow, sophisticated, and I enjoy sipping on it slowly until it’s gone and I nibble the booze soaked cherry. So this is my recipe, after tinkering around a bit. Adjust as you like!

Cocktail Culture: The Old Fashioned
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I think cocktails should be shared, so this is a recipe for two drinks!
Recipe type: Beverage
Serves: 2
  • 2 long sections of orange peel (zest only, no pith)
  • 2 dark cocktail cherries
  • 2 large ice balls or cubes
  • 3-4 ounces of bourbon (I use 2 ounces per drink)
  • 2 teaspoons agave syrup
  • 3-4 dashes of orange bitters
  • 1-2 teaspoons orange juice (optional)
  • cherry syrup, to taste (optional)
  • handful of ice cubes
  1. Rub the rim of two lowball glasses with the orange peel then put the peel in the glasses. Add a cocktail cherry and an ice cube to each glass.
  2. Combine the bourbon, agave, and bitters in a cocktail shaker. If you want your drink slightly sweeter, add the orange juice or cherry syrup from the cocktail cherries, or both. Add ice cubes, cover tightly, and shake well.
  3. Pour drinks over the two ice cubes and enjoy!


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